Courtesy of GoYeo
College fourth-year Reet Goraya has had a busy four years at Oberlin. A member of the field hockey team throughout her entire time at the College, Goraya has also been a Peer Advising Leader and an active member of the South Asian Students Association. Now, the Biology major looks back fondly on her time at Oberlin, while also looking forward to an exciting new opportunity to work in India as a Shansi fellow.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
When did you first start playing field hockey? What made you want to continue playing in college?
I started playing field hockey when I was 11 years old on a club team near my middle school and continued playing throughout high school on my team at school, as well as on a club team. I loved the sport so much, and I couldn’t imagine not playing it for another four years — that’s really what made me apply to Oberlin. I am so glad I decided to come to Oberlin, and I don’t think any other school would have been able to provide me with four more years of continuing a sport I love, and with the most amazing teammates and community I’ve ever been a part of.
What was your experience like on the field hockey team? What will you miss the most?
The field hockey team was one of my favorite parts of being here at Oberlin. I was able to meet some of my best friends and was given an opportunity to grow and mature in a way I never imagined. I was also able to play a sport I love, while learning how to be on a team that cared for and loved each other so much that we put each other before the sport we played. My teammates encouraged respecting and loving each other on and off the field. It allowed me to feel like I had a family here that would be there for me no matter what. It is this love and my teammates that I will miss most, and I hope that future teammates are able to share this same experience with me.
What would you say to student-athletes on the team now and future players?
Field hockey at Oberlin has allowed me to grow not only as a player, but as a student and an adult too. I’ve been able to find a team that has believed in me more than I believed in myself. My teammates have taught me how to balance work with athletics while also taking care of myself. I would say that for future students, it’s super important to take care of your mental health, and reach out for support if you ever need it.
The field hockey team has seen me at my worst and my best, but they have also supported me through it all, and I know they will continue to support their players for years to follow. Even now, my best friends were the seniors on the team who graduated last year. Whenever I’m not feeling well, or whenever they’re not feeling well, we know we still have each other. I will cherish them and this environment that the team has provided forever.
What have you been studying at Oberlin? How are you able to balance your rigorous academics with your sport?
I’m a Biology major on the pre-med track. I think that my coach has been super supportive and always told us that academics are first and athletics are second. Because of how supportive she’s been, it’s made it much easier to balance those two subjects. It’s also been nice to have my teammates believe in me and set up times where we can all meet up and do work together to encourage each other to do well academically. On road trips, in libraries, in hotels, and especially in Slow Train Cafe, some of my favorite memories have been working together for hours and then going to practice or a game altogether.
I’ve heard you were recently granted a Shansi fellowship, can you talk more about that?
I recently have found out that I will be going to Tamil Nadu in India for two years to work with the Keystone Foundation, a non-governmental organization that is working to promote public health initiatives, as well as doing a lot of environmental work in the area through working with indigenous communities. I will be working more on public health initiatives, focusing on bettering mental health and nutrition in the area of Tamil Nadu that Keystone is based, and I am super excited to begin that work this fall.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself completing my fellowship and then going on to medical school to begin working toward my goal of becoming a physician. It’s been an aspiration of mine since I was a little kid to help people in the health field through being a doctor, and I really hope I am able to complete that. My mom is a child psychiatrist, and I’ve looked up to her in a lot of ways. I hope to be able to work in a similar field and be able to help people in a similar way. My ultimate dream would be to be a pediatrician — I love working with children, so being able to help kids out would be a dream come true.
What other things are you involved in on campus?
I’ve had the pleasure of being able to interact with multiple different groups of people through different activities. Apart from field hockey, I’ve been able to lead the South Asian Student Association The club has worked to create a safe space to talk about issues that South Asians on campus face in living in and going to school in America, while also being able to celebrate different aspects of our culture and traditions together.
I also have been a PAL for the past two years, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being able to work with first-years in adjusting to being at Oberlin and teaching them about all the resources we have access to on campus. It’s been an enlightening experience that has taught me how to communicate better and work toward creating a safe space for students to share concerns about being in a new environment and adjusting to a place they will hopefully call home.
Anything else you would like to add?
I just want to thank my friends and family at home and on campus for being there for me these past four years. I have limitless love for everyone, and I am so thankful to Oberlin for giving me the chance to grow and meet these people who in many ways have changed my life. I’m eternally grateful, and the idea of graduating so soon and leaving this amazing space behind feels incredibly bittersweet.